During the Southern Cotswolds: Oxford to Bath trip you will pass through Woodstock where you have the opportunity to visit Blenheim Palace and then later on it the trip you’ll visit Tetbury, the location and country home of King Charles and the Queen Consort Camilla.
Why should you visit Blenheim Palace?
1. It’s the only non-royal country house to hold the title of 'Palace' in England
It was built between 1705 and 1722 to honour the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill after he led his army to victory over the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession named the Battle of Blenheim. Returning as a national hero he was presented with a royal manor in Woodstock with the plan for construction to begin to build him a palace as a gift.
2. It’s the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill was born at the palace, which remains in the Churchill family to this day. Within the building, there’s a Winston Churchill exhibition documenting both his professional and personal life. You get a true sense of what his life would have been like as you walk through the different stages from his birth, childhood, military career, time in Parliament through to his death. From handwritten letters to paintings, you get a real insight into the man behind the reputation. He even proposed here and said, "At Blenheim I took two very important decisions: to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions." There is a great exhibition currently on display within the palace that you can visit
3. It’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987
You only need to look around the buildings and grounds to see why. Experience the sheer opulence of the decor, paintings, and artifacts within this incredibly impressive building. Pictures just don't do it justice. Also, be sure to take a stroll through the secret gardens and water terraces.
4. See the Harry Potter Tree
The tree that’s featured in the Order of the Phoenix film during the scene of 'Snape's worst memory' has been on the grounds for hundreds of years. It's easily recognisable due to the gaping hole in the front. It's an impressive sight even if you're not a Harry Potter fan.
5. Close connections with the British Royal Family
With over 300 years’ worth of history linking the palace to the royals, there are ample exhibitions and titbits to be found all over the sections open to the public.
Just outside Tetbury sits Highgrove Gardens – the personal country residence of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.
Highgrove Gardens is 15 beautiful acres of organically managed land, with an abundance of magnificent trees and flowers. There are many sustainability initiatives including a natural pest control programme, renewable energy, and rainwater being used in the toilets in The Orchard Room. Organic fruit and vegetables are grown and there are two fountains providing water for the birds who come to visit. Talking of birds there are also around 180 free-range chickens roaming parts of the Estate which supply eggs to the restaurant and shop! To visit the gardens, you need to join a group guided tour that goes around four times a day during the summer months. We cannot book this on your behalf, but if you’d like to experience this, you’ll have to book an extra night in Tetbury and visit the gardens on a free day. This would have to be organised by yourself (including a local cab to take you there and back).
The good news is you can still experience a taste of Highgrove by visiting its Estate Shop within Tetbury. It sells products inspired by the gardens and His Majesty's interests. From luxury food and drink items such as organic preserves, confectionary, and champagne, to artisan crafts designed in the UK including pieces that have been exclusively designed for Highgrove. A perfect gift perhaps for a loved one back home! The sale of Highgrove products and Garden Tours support the work of the Prince's Foundation which provides holistic solutions to the challenges the world is facing. Sustainability is a huge passion of King Charles III's so keep that in mind when you’re looking for an excuse to treat yourself to some indulgent treats from the shop, it's all for a good cause after all!